The Natural Commons As A Community To Which We Belong, Rather Than A Resource To Be Exploited

These two articles explain the basics of Community Land Trusts.  The thought behind these is that communal ownership of the natural resources, particularly in relation to the land, enables them to be used in a more responsible manner as many of those who are affected have a say in how they are used.  The alternative, that private interests are allowed to own the land and use its resources how they see fit, often leads to a pillaging of the resources with minimal concern for the impact this has on the rest of the community.  Whilst predominantly used in relation to community housing projects there are developments that see the retaining of ownership of the land by the community also being used responsibly to encourage other opportunities that benefit the community as a whole such as agricultural and commercial projects.  The crucial aspect is that if the community as a whole owns the land, the community as a whole can set the terms by which it is used, and also revoke the right to use it:


Communities Rather Than Investors, Developing Rather Than Siphoning

Here’s a video that has a great brief explanation of how economics and power are interrelated in responding to the parable about teaching a man to fish.  As a suggestion off the back of this the article draws your attention to how a community can, through its governmental resources, enable an enterprise that benefits the community.  It does so through creating an investment cycle that cuts out any rentier investment entities (private investors who draw off the profits for themselves, meaning the money leaves the local community) and so passes financial benefits through members of that community (by giving them the opportunity and the profits in a more spread out way, making it more likely each will spend them within that community in some form).  This then serves to retain the benefits within the community and the extra income that is spent there offers opportunities for other people to develop other opportunities to the benefit of that community:


Climate Risk Bonds

An idea for making extractive fossil fuel industries pay before extraction for the damage they could potentially cause on a local, national and international level.  The cost would be determined considering the various possible effects that companies could have on, for example,  local water supplies, populations and in contributing to climate change, then if the company manages to minimise their impact they may be liable for a reimbursement at some point:

Chitsvachirimurutsoka Cooperative Farm

Chitsvachirimurutsoka (meaning nothing ventured nothing gained) farm in Zimbabwe has grown from a simple cooperative to playing a much larger role in supporting the local community through a number of initiatives and investments.  It’s development has included not only providing practical infrastructure (such as roads, sanitation, education, etc) for the local community but also encouragement to others to form cooperative models in different areas (such as housing, retail, savings, etc).  Within the video it’s revealed that there is a law in Zimbabwe that before a company folds it must offer the workers the opportunity to form a cooperative from it first, have a read/watch:

Introducing Heidegger

Heidegger has been a massive influence on a number of great philosophers, and is not short of controversy himself with his links to the Nazis.  As such you may wonder what all the fuss is about but have a slight apprehension about engaging with his justifiably intimidating texts.  There is however a way for you to get your head round the basics of his work through these set of articles by Simon Critchley who lays out a clear outline of what Heidegger’s most influential work, Being and Time, looks to achieve:

Sumak Kawsay / Buen Vivir (Living Well Together), Not “Development”

Here is a set of sources that speak of a way of thinking and living in relation to development that focuses on well balanced relations between people, and with nature as a whole (on the video you can skip to 9.35 for an explanation of what the term means).  It attempts to move away from a growth orientated extractive model, and more toward a participative model that emphasizes equality and sustainability for all those involved (not just people), as well as suggesting use of open knowledge models.  It focuses on understanding the individual as situated within the context of their community and environment rather than as distinct:

Basic Income and Communal Ownership More Than 30 years Old in Alaska

Here’s a fascinating piece outlining how shared communal ownership of resources can and should benefit the whole community rather than simply being siphoned off for those who are already wealthy.  With opportunities for generating a basic income and returning control of the environment back from corporations to a more democratic control much of what is suggested feels like a no-brainer for anyone thinking outside of a neoliberal model:

Building a New Social Commons

Here’s a fascinating piece by the New Economics Foundation which, whilst it is lengthy, is well worth a read.  It puts together a broad ranging strategic framework for thinking about how society may be refocused away from an emphasis of the individual towards an emphasis of the value of the social in human life: